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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Kirkland-Based HouseValues Continues Slide

More bad news for local real estate lead-generation company HouseValues:

Amid a slumping real estate market, HouseValues Inc. is cutting 12 percent of its work force and closing its online lead generation business for mortgages.

Sixty employees are losing their jobs, all at the company's Kirkland headquarters.
In a memo to employees, HouseValues Chief Executive Ian Morris said that the company has encountered a number of challenges because of a "steep decline in transaction volume in many local real estate markets."
A HouseValues employee, who was not involved in the layoffs and asked not to be identified, said that "morale has been very low and a lot of people have been quitting from all departments." As of September, the company employed 590 people. But the employee count has drifted lower in recent months as people have left for other jobs.
Also, HouseValues stock is down another 46% since I last mentioned them nine months ago. Maybe it's just me, but now doesn't exactly seem like the best of times to be building a business centered around real estate sales.

(John Cook, Seattle P-I, 01.25.2007)


christiangustafson said...

I saw this headline yesterday, and it puzzled me. Without the lead-generation / subscription business for REALTOR®s, what's left?

When I enter a property into the HouseValues site, why do *I* have to add the number of of bedrooms, square footage, etc? Zillow knows all of this. Why don't you? WAYSA?

I follow HV because they employ a lot of ex-employees from Onvia, where I used to work. Also, heh heh, Keith at HousingPanic shorted them at 9 or so.

Imagine getting in at 16 or 18 when the insiders were dumping options! Sweet deals!

biliruben said...

Trying to become a new sort of intermediary during a time of disintermediation doesn't seem like a slam-dunk business model.

redmondjp said...

. . . doesn't seem like a slam-dunk business model.

Yes, but neither does selling dog food on the internet. We're dealing with ex-dot-commers here who have followed the money trail into the RE market.

Christian said...

This is actually too bad for HV:

HouseValues COO Steps Down

KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -- HouseValues Inc., a provider of online subscription services for real estate agents and mortgage bankers, said Wednesday its chief operating officer, Clayton Lewis, has left the company to pursue other interests.

Clayton was easily and by far the best of management at Onvia, and a real standup guy besides. I periodically check the insider transactions for SOLD, and Clayton never did dump his shares (unlike the rest). Maybe his shares were locked up, sure, but I tend to think he was too busy working on the biz to cash out early.

SOLD's days were always numbered with the RE bubble.

S Crow said...

My thinking was that as the market became more challenging, particularly outside our state lines, that Realtors would pull back on paying for services such as Housevalues. I'm no different, if money is tight, I'm cutting back where I can.

Except Mochas. Or This